Instead of my routine morning climb up Griffith Park after work, I decided to take a break from the sketchy descending on a track bike and use my track certificate in the velodrome three miles from my house. Having looked at their calender, Monday’s class was themed by a small motorbike to get riders up to speed and running drills behind a motor.
I got some shopping done that afternoon, trying not to dwell on the initial apprehension on what seemed to me like a more advanced class having just re-learned to ride the track three days before. I got the things I needed and grabbed a bike before taking off back to the track.
Our drills consisted of four sets of two laps, two (the first and the last) behind the motor for the entire two laps. One with the motor in front the first lap (the rider finishing the second.) Then the motor leading the rider out to the start of the two laps to be done solely by the rider. My goal was to have my time for the fourth run to be faster than my first.
To my surprise I was greeted by a friend who has put a serious focus on riding the track. She is a great example of the benefits of specialized training. Having won multiple races in a short amount of time, I envy that amount of discipline and drive for a passion.
The drills were done and became progressively more difficult. One thing I noticed was when the time came to “jump” (emphasizing more on fast-twitch muscle fibers) I ended up making small gaps when the driver behind the motorbike decided it was time to go. I latched back on behind the bike and beat my first time by the fourth drill.
For those of you wondering what that metal bar is behind the rear wheel, It’s function is to prevent the rider following behind it from running into the rear wheel creating a crash. I knew it was there for the rider’s safety but still felt apprehensive to test it out to give it a tap. By the third drill, I began to get the hang of the flow of things and gave it a tap. I bumped back like one does when bumper cars are going at like-speeds. As soon as it happened, all my fear and apprehension suddenly vanished.
I averaged about 34.5 seconds and was told the minimum time for state championship contenders was 32 seconds and below. Having felt like I needed to go to the side of the bike a few times during the drills, those numbers have turned into a long term goal to strive for.
I seem to have gotten the spinning aspect of riding the track relatively comfortable. My Garmin said my top speed during the drills was close to 45 mph at which I felt like my legs hit terminal velocity at one point in time. I would like to experiment by using different rear cogs of different sizes to see what I am capable of, and what ratio works best for a particular event.
By the time all was said and done, my head was spinning. My legs were tired and kept a casual pace on my ride home. In between our drills I was reminded that there are track events for the types of riders with primarily fast and slow twitch muscle fibers. You don’t need to be able to squat or dead lift a ton to ride the black line.
Time to see how this will transfer on the road bike. In the mean time, coffee is in the mail, and my first batch of kombucha is a brewing.